Tour operators remove Brussels from Benelux tours due to security concerns
by Betül Alakent
ISTANBULMar 24, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Betül Alakent
Mar 24, 2016 12:00 am
Following the terrorist attacks that left 34 dead and hundreds injured in Brussels, Turkish tour operators removed the city from Benelux tours packages. The removal will last until the end of April. It is estimated that travelers' interest in European tours could decline 20 percent this year.
A series of terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday has rocked the Belgian tourism sector. The attacks also pushed Turkish tour operators that lead tours in the country to develop a contingency plan. At the moment, tour operators with Turkish tourists in Belgium, with transport them to Paris or Amsterdam by land and provide their return to Turkey.
Pronto Tour Chairman Ali Onaran said there is a still a group of 80 Turkish tourists who are about to return to Turkey from Brussels. Although the tourists would go to Brussels via Amsterdam, they will be brought to Turkey via Paris in accordance with a change in route.
Anı Tour Chairman Veli Çilsal said that since explosions took place at an airport where the highest security measures are implemented, it will reduce interest in flights. He said that recent rumors circulating on social media claiming that explosions will take place at airports pushed travelers to bus tours. He said that the perception that airports are safe places has disappeared due to the latest attacks, adding: "Turks take great interest in Benelux tours packages, which include Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Luxembourg. We carry 10,000 Turkish tourists to the region on average a year." Çilsal estimates the attacks will reduce travelers' interest in Europe between 10 percent and 20 percent.
Turkish Touristic Hotels and Investors Association (TUROB) President Timur Bayındır said that terror is a global problem against which all countries must fight together, adding: "Unfortunately, the terror that struck Turkey three days ago has hit Belgium this time."
Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) Chairman Osman Ayık said that such bloody attacks that target Turkey and European countries will fail as a result of the resistance of humanity.
The consecutive attacks in Brussels, the EU's capital, have had a negative impact on the risk appetite that has been on the rise in markets recently. As market tendencies to escape risks gain speed, stock exchanges in developing countries experience bumpy sales. Due to rough sales in airline company shares, European stock markets have declined around 1 percent or 2 percent. The euro has lost nearly 1 percent of its value against the dollar and dropped below 1.12. The yield of Germany's 10-year bonds dropped to the lowest level in the past two weeks. The price of gold increased to $1.257 per ounce in international markets in a nearly 1 percent rise. The dollar exceeded TL 2.88 on Tuesday after falling to TL 2.85 in domestic markets on the first trading day of the week. The Borsa Istanbul Stock Exchange's (BIST 100) index also dropped 1.96 percent.